BBC iPlayer gets launch date
- 29 Jun 07, 04:54 PM
BBC Future Media & Technology Director Ashley Highfield has announced that the iPlayer is set for launch on 27 July and it will be accessible from day one.
As if you didn’t know by now, the iPlayer is the BBC’s seven-day catch-up service. Programmes will be available for up to seven days after broadcast for users to download. There is then a thirty-day window in which to watch the shows.
Highfield also revealed that the BBC has targeted the autumn for a release of a Mac version of the iPlayer. Mac users may be disappointed that they have to wait until then, however this is considerably ahead of previous predictions that development could take up to an extra 24 months.
No such worries, for once, for user groups with accessibility requirements. If you have followed Access 2.0 over the months since it started, you’ll be well aware that making the iPlayer accessible to visually impaired and hearing impaired people, or those with restricted motor functions, has been at the centre of development.
Director General Mark Thompson said: "In our view, the iPlayer is at least as big a redefinition of what TV can be, what radio can be, what broadcasting can be, as colour television was 40 years ago."
Marketing hype? Time will tell. We are collectively watching more TV online than might have seemed imaginable a year or two ago, with 9% of us regularly watching TV on the web. The arrival of the iPlayer makes it easier to watch quality programming than ever before, so that 9% is only likely to increase.
For some user groups it will definitely feel revolutionary. Because the iPlayer works with screen readers, it will be the easiest place for visually impaired people to get audio described content. There are no unfriendly remote controls or silent menus to contend with as there are with the TV. For hearing impaired people, captioned and signed content will be easy to find. No more scouring of the TV schedules for Sign Zone content broadcast in the middle of the night. And that makes the iPlayer big news.
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